I’ve got lots of tales of how I discovered this singer or that band and todays Song for a Friday is one such tale.
I remember starting my somewhat obessive interest in music back in high school. In addition to buying music, I started to take an active interest in documentaries about music as shown on television. There was the fantastic Dancing In The Street, which succintly covered a diluted history of RocknRoll; the sometimes interesting Mojo Working, which interspersed concert footage with vox pops of opininated know-it-alls; a fascinating Robbie Robertson documentary that I literally just stumbled onto one night a few minutes after it started and was engrossed by and never learned the name of, and then there was Message To Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970.
This documentary showed up on television in the late 1990’s having finally been released nearly 30 years after it was made. This fascinating warts and all documentary had so much in it and served to introduce me to quite a few singers and bands. The festival that year was marred by a disruptive element of concert goers who demanded free entry, so many of the film’s highlights are actually lowpoints. There is the scene of Kris Kristofferson walking offstage; Joni Mitchell berating people for behaving like tourists, Emerson, Lake and Palmer firing a cannon and Leonard Cohen, well, Leonard Cohen being spellbinding.
Now, up to this point in my developing musical interest I had only ever heard of Leonard, but never actually heard him so this was my introduction. The film included him singing two verses of Suzanne and I was hooked.
When he came to Perth in 2009 I made sure I went to see him. In 2010, when he came back, I wasn’t able to go but as a consolation his full Isle of Wight 1970 performance was released on DVD and CD and earlier this year I finally bought it. I have been listening to it this week.
So at long last, I have the full performance that initially introduced me to his music. Today’s Friday song is the very song that was featured in that excellent Message To Love documentary all those years ago.